photo of Bruce LeePhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Bruce Lee

Wikipedia Summary for Bruce Lee

Lee Jun-fan (Chinese: 李振藩; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍), was a Chinese American martial artist, actor, director, martial arts instructor and philosopher. He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that is often credited with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA).

Lee is considered by commentators, critics, media, and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West. He is credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films.

The son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen, Lee was born in the Chinatown area of San Francisco, on November 27, 1940, to parents from Hong Kong, and was raised with his family in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

He was introduced to the film industry by his father and appeared in several films as a child actor. His early martial arts experience included Wing Chun, tai chi, street fighting, and boxing, winning the Hong Kong schools boxing tournament. Lee moved to the United States at the age of 18 to receive his higher education at the University of Washington in Seattle; it was during this time that he began teaching martial arts, later drawing significant attention at the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships. In the 1970s, his Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, sparking a surge of interest in the Chinese nation and Chinese martial arts in the West. The direction and tone of his films dramatically influenced and changed martial arts and martial arts films worldwide.

He is noted for his roles in five feature-length martial arts films in the early 1970s: Lo Wei's The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Golden Harvest's Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; and Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers' Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978), both directed by Robert Clouse.

Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, based upon his portrayal of Chinese nationalism in his films, and among Asian Americans for defying stereotypes associated with the emasculated Asian male. Having initially learnt Wing Chun, tai chi, boxing, and street fighting, he combined them with other influences from various sources into the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).

Lee had residences in Hong Kong and Seattle.

Lee died on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32. There was no visible external injury; however, according to autopsy reports, Lee's brain had swollen considerably. The autopsy found Equagesic in his system. When the doctors announced Lee's death, it was officially ruled a "death by misadventure". Since his death, Lee has continued to be a prominent influence on modern combat sports, including judo, karate, mixed martial arts, and boxing, as well as modern popular culture, including film, television, comics, animation and video games. Time named Lee one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.


Balance your thoughts with action. If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.



Don't pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.



The usefulness of a cup is its emptiness.



Martial arts, like any art, is an unrestricted athletic expression of an individual soul.



After all, all knowledge simply means self knowledge.



Efficiency is anything that scores.



In combat, spontaneity rules; rote performance of technique perishes.



Too much concentration belittles life. Concentration is a narrowing down of the mind -- but we are concerned with the total process of living, and to concentrate exclusively on any particular aspect of life, belittles life.



Concentration is a form of exclusion, and where there is exclusion, there is a thinker who excludes.



Nothingness cannot be defined; the softest thing cannot be snapped.



For something that is static, fixed, dead, there can be a way or a definite path; but not for anything that is moving and living.



Evaluation by others is not a guide for me.



Endurance is lost rapidly if one ceases to work at its maximum.



When you fight, if it is a real fight, use every tool that you have, use your whole body. Use your fists, your legs, your fingers, your head if you have to, and hit them in every vulnerable spot, the balls, the eyes etc. to win.



Have no rigid system in you, and you'll be flexible to change with the ever changing.



I don't want to do anything halfway. It has to be perfect.



The success of an assailant's attack depends on surprise, and if you're sufficiently alert to prevent a surprise, your counterattack is already halfway to being successful.





A kung fu man who was really good was not proud at all. Pride emphasizes the superiority of one's status. There has to be fear and insecurity in pride, because when you aim at being highly esteemed and achieve such status, you automatically start to worry about losing status.





He who knows not, knows not, he knows not, he is a fool shun him.
He who knows not and he knows not, he is simple teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows, he is asleep, awaken him.
He who knows and knows that he knows, he is wise, follow him.



When you're talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!



To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself.

Longer Version:

To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself. Now, it is very difficult to do. It has always been very easy for me to put on a show and be cocky, and be flooded with a cocky feeling and feel pretty cool and all that. I can make all kinds of phoney things. Blinded by it. Or I can show some really fancy movement. But to experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that is very hard to do.



Like everyone else, you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose -- to accept defeat. To learn to die is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes you must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying!



What is true stillness? Stillness in movement.



I have the absolute confidence not to be number two, but then I have enough sense to realize that there can be no number one.







The unfolding of the bare human soul...that is what interests me.



Success means doing something sincerely and wholeheartedly.



Jeet Kune Do does not beat around the bush. It does not take winding detours. It follows a straight line to the objective. Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points.



I personally do not believe in the word style. Why? Because, unless there are human beings with three arms and four legs, unless we have another group of human beings that are structually different from us, there can be no different style of fighting.



Belts are only good for holding up your pants.



Even today, I dare not say that I have reached a state of achievement. I'm still learning, for learning is boundless.



The more relaxed the muscles are, the more energy can flow through the body. Using muscular tensions to try to 'do' the punch or attempting to use brute force to knock someone over will only work to opposite effect.



You and your opponent are one. There is a coexisting relationship between you. You coexist with your opponent and become his complement, absorbing his attack and using his force to overcome him.



Don't be forecasting evil unless it is what you can guard against. Anxiety is good for nothing if we can't turn it into a defense.



The deluded mind is the mind affectively burdened by intellect. Thus, it cannot move without stopping and reflecting on itself. This obstructs its native fluidity.



The more restricted a method, the lesser the opportunity for one's individual freedom of expression.



True observation begins when devoid of set patterns; freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond system.



Art lives where absolute freedom is, because where it is not, there can be no creativity.



There's so much myth and baloney. Like a 80-year-old man able to manhandle a 300-pounder with his little finger. Ridiculous. Or this matter of breaking bricks and boards wth the edge of your hand. Now I ask you, did you ever see a brick or a board pick a fight with anybody?



I'm not a master. I'm a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I'm still learning. So I'm a student-master. I don't believe in the word 'master.' I consider the master as such when they close the casket.



To develop the creative attitude, analyze and focus on the wanted SOLUTION; seek out and fill your mind with the FACTS; write down ideas, both sensible and seemingly wild; let the facts and ideas simmer in your mind; evaluate, recheck, settle on the creative ideas.



I do not fear the man who practices 1,000 kicks one time each. I fear the man who practices 1 kick 1,000 times.



But to those who kept saying
It can't be done,
Never are the victories
Or the honors won.
But, rather,
By the believing, doing kind,
While the doubters
Watched from far behind.



In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup.



Art is never decoration, embellishment; instead, it is work of enlightenment. Art, in other words, is a technique for acquiring liberty.



A good fighter must sense rather than perceive his chance to strike.



Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference and heaven and earth are set apart.



If I should die tomorrow, I will have no regrets. I did what I wanted to do. You can't expect more from life.



The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.



An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind. It is not satisfied with explanation, with conclusions. Nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another form of conclusion.



It is better to live as a broken piece of jade, than to live as a useless clay.



An instructor should exemplify the things he seeks to teach. It will be of great advantage if you yourself can do all you ask of your students and more.



Unfortunately, now in boxing people are only allowed to punch. In Judo, people are only allowed to throw. I do not despise these kinds of martial arts. What I mean is, we now find rigid forms which create differences among clans, and the world of martial art is shattered as a result.



Use karate, judo, aikido, or any style to build your counter-offensive. It will be interesting!





If there is always light, you don't experience light anymore. You have to have the rhythm of light and darkness.



I have always been a martial artist by choice, an actor by profession, but above all, am actualising myself to be an artist of life.



I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves.

Longer Version:

I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves. It is futile to argue as to which leaf, which design of branches, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.



To be bound by traditional martial art style or styles is the way of the mindless, enslaved martial artist. But to be inspired by the traditional martial art and to achieve further heights is the way of genius.



A quality martial artist is always ready for any move, and trains oneself invincible.



I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies.



Life is wide, limitless. There is no border, no frontier.





To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery.



I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.



I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.



Understanding comes about through feeling, from moment to moment in the mirror of relationship.



Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better.

Longer Version:

Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better. As the great Sun Tzu said: “When you know yourself and your opponent, you will win every time. When you know yourself but not your opponent, you will win one and lose one. However, when you do not know yourself or your opponent, you will be imperiled every time.



Independent inquiry is needed in your search for truth, not dependence on anyone else's view or a mere book.



There's only one basic principle of self-defense- you must apply the most effective weapon, as soon as possible, to the most vulnerable target.



A man must constantly exceed his level.





Let the spirit out -- Discard all thoughts of reward, all hopes of praise and fears of blame, all awareness of one's bodily self. And, finally closing the avenues of sense perception, let the spirit out, as it will.



The second-hand artist blindly following his sensei or sifu accepts his pattern. As a result, his action is and , more importantly, his thinking become mechanical. His responses become automatic, according to set patterns, making him narrow and limited.



The mind is like a fertile garden in which anything that is planted, flowers or weeds, will grow.



It is not what happens that is success or failure, but what it does to the heart of man.



More and more I believe in the fact that you have two hands and two legs, and the thing is how to make good use of yourself -- and that's about it.







Remember, Life is a journey, not a destination.





As long as we separate this oneness into two we won't achieve realization.



The knowledge and skills you have achieved are meant to be forgotten so you can float comfortably in emptiness, without obstruction.



My strength comes from my abdomen. It's the center of gravity and the source of real power.



If your opponent is at a distance, kick him in the groin. If he gets close, poke him in the eyes, bring up your knee, pop him with an elbow, dig a corkscrew punch to his stomach.





When one is not expressing himself, he is not free. thus, he begins to struggle and the struggle breeds methodical routine. Soon, he is doing his methodical routine as response rather than responding to what is.



The less confident we are in ourselves, the less we are in touch with ourselves and the world, the more we want to control.



Concepts vs. self-actualization. -- Instead of dedicating your life to actualize a concept of what you should be like, ACTUALIZE YOURSELF. The process of maturing does not mean to become a captive of conceptualization. It is to come to the realization of what lies in our innermost selves.



Go toward self-actualization rather than self-image actualization... Search within... for honest self- expression.



In building a statue, a sculptor doesn't keep adding clay to his subject. Actually, he keeps chiseling away at the nonessentials until the truth of his creation is revealed without obstruction.



Turn your sparring into play -- but always play seriously.



Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.





Running water never grows stale.



We have more faith in what we imitate than in what we create.

Longer Version:

We have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate. We cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything which has its roots in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone and we are not alone when we imitate. It is thus with most of us; we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.



Meditation means to be free from all phenomena and calmness means to be internally unperturbed. There will be calmness when one is free from external objects and is not perturbed.



Take what's useful, discard what is not.



A kung fu man lives without being dependant on the opinions of others, and a master, unlike the beginner, holds himself in reserve. He is quiet and unassuming, with no desire to show off.



The abdominal and waist region coordinate all parts of the body and act as the center or generator. Therefore, you can promote the ability to control the body's action and master your will more easily.





The primary Reality is not what I think, but that I live, for those also live who do not think.



A self-willed man has no other aim than his own growth.



I create opportunities.



Dedication, absolute dedication, is what keeps one ahead!

Longer Version:

Dedication, absolute dedication, is what keeps one ahead. A sort of

indomitable obsessive dedication and the realization that there is

no end or limit to this because life is simply an ever-growing process,

an ever-renewing process.



If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you.



Memory: Recognizing the value of an alert mind and an alert memory, I will encourage mine to become alert by taking care to impress it clearly with all thoughts I wish to recall and by associating those thoughts with related subjects which I may call to mind frequently.



The past is an illusion. You must learn to live in the present and accept yourself for what you are now. What you lack in flexibility and agility you must make up with knowledge and constant practice.



Ultimately the greatest help is self-help.



Be like water, my friend.

Longer Version:

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.



Be self aware, rather than a repetitious robot.



It doesn't matter you were born as Legend
But what does matter is Legendary End.
Think About It.



When the ultimate perfection is attained, the body and limbs perform by themselves what is assigned to them to do with no interference from the mind.



The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel.



The martial arts are based upon understanding, hard work and a total comprehension of skills. Power training and the use of force are easy, but total comprehension of all of the skills of the martial arts is very difficult to achieve.



Use no way as way, make no limitation, limitation.



Never try to copy a successful personality.


Cite this page:

APA Style Citation:

MLA Style Citation:

Link Back to Us: (preferred, thank you!)

Thank you for citing us - and thank you for sharing our quotes and quotepics - spread the joy - we appreciate it!


Thank you for checking out our selection of quotes by Bruce Lee! Please consider sharing and also connect with us on social media. Wishing you a wonderful and fortunate day!